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Looking for older DSLR
I'm looking for some help in picking out a camera that will suit my needs..

I have a Sony P200, which is still doing just fine for me, but it has two characteristics that I don't like. The shutter lag is too long and low light photos have too much noise. I take a lot of indoor photos of my little kids, and I get too many pictures that show them with heads turned or hands reaching out to grab the camera because they move faster than the auto-focus..

A DSLR or other higher end camera would be able to address these shortcomings, but I'm looking for a lower cost solution..

As I said, I take a lot of photos indoors standing 5-10 feet away from my subjects. I don't need a lot of zoom. I don't need a lot of megapixels. I just want to point the camera have a chance at catching that instant when both kids are facing me or that smile flashes across their faces..

So, I think what I'm looking for is a DSLR or higher end point-and-shoot camera from a few years ago. It should have a large CCD for good low light performance, around 6 megapixels and low shutter lag. In order to get this at a low price, it doesn't have to be a small camera or a recent model. I am technically savvy enough to deal with a camera with a lot of complicated settings, but I don't need that..

Does anybody have any recommendations for a camera that would fit this bill?.

I have tried to read older reviews, but it is hard to compensate for the fact that the reviews were written at the time when the models were new and standards were different. For example, if a 5 year old camera and a 3 year old camera can both be bought used today for $300 and the 5 year old camera got better reviews 5 years ago than the 3 year old camera got 3 years ago, it's still possible that head-to-head the 3 year old camera takes better pictures..

Thanks everybody...

Comments (7)

It would make a lot of sense to buy a new 6mp Nikon D40 or Pentax K110. If the budget is very low you'll not want to blow it on something that packs up after a few months use without a warranty..

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Comment #1

I own a the original digital Rebel, not the XT or the XTi, or now the XSi; it has 6.3 megapixels and will do all you require of it. I still shoot lots of pics with it as others do with theirs. You should be able to pick one up on eBay pretty cheaply. Its also known as the 300D model. Check out the 300D forum here...

Comment #2

For low light shooting you need a fast lens and ideally a flash. Tripods don't hurt either. In 5 years of shooting, cameras have only accounted for 30% of my cash output for gear. Look at the big picture, then work you way backward from there..

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Comment #3

Hi,.

There are a lot of people out there who like top of the range cameras but don't give them the bashing that a pro would and then they replace the camera with something newer and the camera turns up hardly used but with the dreaded "secondhand" label on it. The problem is trying to find one....

But, there was a nice camera, the Leica Diglux 2 that had problems with a batch of CCD's that did dreadfull things and Leica replaced them all and so there ought to be a few here and there that are technically old but really new inside (or rather the CCD's will be fairly new)..

In your shoes I'd look for one of them..

BTW, my opinion is that the most important part of the camera is the lens, then the CCD size but a lot of them are better than expected: Leica, Panasonic and Olympus all used the 2/3" ones and then there's the "FourThirds" range of cameras and lenses from all those makers. They may not be the world's favourite but they turn out brilliant pictures..

Hope this is some use to you; you didn't say if you were restricted by the budget or just don't like wasting money, so it's difficult to comment further..

Regards, David..

Comment #4

Meomaxy wrote:.

...The shutter lag is too long and low light photos have too much noise...As I said, I take a lot of photos indoors standing 5-10 feet awayfrom my subjects. I don't need a lot of zoom. I don't need a lot ofmegapixels. I just want to point the camera have a chance at catchingthat instant when both kids are facing me or that smile flashesacross their faces..

For this kind of stuff, you could save yourself a lot of money by forgetting about an DSLR and instead picking up a Fuji F20 or F30 or F31FD. Cheapest would be a refurbished F20 for about $100. (New F20/F30/F31fd are scarce now but not impossible to find)..

Comment #5

Noway1 wrote:.

Meomaxy wrote:.

...The shutter lag is too long and low light photos have too much noise...As I said, I take a lot of photos indoors standing 5-10 feet awayfrom my subjects. I don't need a lot of zoom. I don't need a lot ofmegapixels. I just want to point the camera have a chance at catchingthat instant when both kids are facing me or that smile flashesacross their faces..

For this kind of stuff, you could save yourself a lot of money byforgetting about an DSLR and instead picking up a Fuji F20 or F30 orF31FD. Cheapest would be a refurbished F20 for about $100. (NewF20/F30/F31fd are scarce now but not impossible to find).

Here's where I get a bit confused. In this website, the reviews for my Sony DSC-P200 say that the full press shutter lag is ~0.4s. The review for the Fuji F31FD says the the lag is ~0.6s. In practice, I find that I'm missing a lot due to slow auto-focus with my P200. To me, it feels like a lag of about 1-2s. One time I shot photos with a friend's DSLR (a Nikon D70 or something like that), and I just remember shooting was just bam-bam-bam.

I think it was also how you could half-press and really feel the focus lock in. From there I could either press the rest of the way or let go and do a full-press knowing it'll be real fast...

Comment #6

I was in the same boat as you until just (and I mean just) recently. I had been using a Minolta A1 which I loved but it didn't do so great in low light. The CCD (2/3") went wonky and when I sent it back in they sent me an A200 as a replacement. I didn't like it very much so I sold it and went DSLR hunting. I ruled out Canon as I was so used to having two dials on the camera I was determined to get the same in a DSLR. I narrowed it down initially to a Nikon D100 and a D70.

The D70 is a bit faster in focusing than the D70, a bit newer but the prices were a bit higher. However, at the last minute I bought a Minolta 7D as I had always wanted one since the day it was annouced (anti-shake built in to body) and it's performance is right with the two Nikons. Plus I was familiar with the menu system from the A1. However if I hadn't gotten it I think I would have picked up a D100 because of the low cost for a used first starter DSLR. As I said, it is slower than any of Nikon's since but if you are just using it for taking pics of the family and such I think it would do the job great.

But if you want to go to the Canon camp I would go for a Rebel XT as the prices are really attractive for them on the used market...

Comment #7

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.

 

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